Cater to Your Best Client, You

April 27

I recently wrote an article about a photographer who decided to use some downtime to pursue a charitable project. Rather than lamenting his lack of bookings that season, he chose to use his slow period to push his boundaries and expand his photography into a new area. So he flew to Africa and spent a couple weeks documenting the work of a nonprofit foundation dedicated to improving education for impoverished youth. The project was exciting, it challenged him as a photographer, and it benefitted a worthy cause.  


Later on, images from the project ended up generating tremendous PR for the photographer, and ultimately led to more assignments in Africa—both paid and charitable—as well as more work from his typical clients who were fascinated by his diversity. His intent wasn’t to boost his business; he just wanted to do some good and build his photographic skills. Still, these things have a way of coming back in profound ways.


His story reminds me of the sage advice offered by many titans of the business world: Never neglect your biggest client, you. If you want to grow as a professional, make sure to reinvest in the greatest resource at your disposal. Your human capital is what sets you apart in the marketplace. It’s that unique perspective that makes you, you.


So don’t push it aside. Nurture it. Try dedicating an hour, maybe two, each day to developing your personal assets. If you’re a writer, write a blog or tackle a book project. If you’re a graphic designer, draw, paint, create something that inspires you. If you’re a photographer, get out in the world and photograph things about which you’re passionate. Not only do these projects sharpen your skills, they build your portfolio and make you a more complete creative service provider.

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